Home→Forums→Emotional Mastery→When is anger useful?
- This topic has 15 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 8 months ago by Anonymous.
September 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm #84488
I’ve come to feel over the years, that anger is a shameful emotion. Who likes to admit they were or are angry?
But the awareness of being angry and the intelligence to channel it wisely are so important I feel.
Sometimes anger is a symptom to change what you are doing.
You are in a job for instance and your skills are below par. On top of this, you are getting heat from the boss and colleagues to lift your game. Then a few of the same colleagues start harassing you. You life is unbearable. You come to hate going to work. You try to ignore what’s happening internally because you need the dough. But it starts to eat away inside you. Slow but sure erosion of your self-respect. You withdraw any chance you have. You get touchy over small things with your loved ones. Then one day, you explode!
Early detection is the key in my view. Don’t let annoyance become anger. And of course avoid rumination.
But if we are mindful enough of our anger, we can either change our circumstances (what is causing it) or express it in art(music, exercise, sport, writing. Venting as well I mean.
Anger can be a sign that we need to go in a different direction. That we need to nurture a different talent, instead of doing the same thing all the time.
I tend to nip anger in the bud these days as Ruminator Ron loses his influence. I don’t let annoyance become full-blown. But anger has taught me the importance of keeping my finger on the puse of what is going on in my internal world.October 1, 2015 at 12:16 am #84489
sorry finger on the pulse I meanOctober 1, 2015 at 1:04 am #84490AnonymousInactive
I do agree with you Jack.
Anger can often be powerful when it is channeled well – i remember when i was 16. Basically I had been an average student all my life and was good at English in particular. When i went to the 11th grade, i was picked on. This wasnt any different from before as i had been bullied most of my teen life – for how i looked, how i spoke and the things i did. However, this time the bullies were a group of top, elite students who just didnt wanna leave me alone. They teased me all the time and pissed me off. I was already very anxious in general and avoided eye contact with people, too scared to speak up. One fine day though, I sort of cracked. I felt this immense anger and felt like “WTF, again they’re picking on me? Whats their problem? What did i do to them anyway?” I remember standing in the school backyard and sort of taking an oath saying that i would beat them in the exact thing that made them damn elites – they thought they were so smart cuz they were the best students there. In the next 2 years, i worked my ass off and every time, i didnt want to study, i thought of all the moments people had assumed things about me, had said cruel things and i just wanted to prove them wrong. In the end, I became the best student in the school and went on to acquire a national rank in the Board exams. I had gone from being a C grade student to A+ in less than 2 years. So yes, thanks to the group of bullies, i went to a top college program.
The second instance was at my second internship. The environment was quite toxic and i felt demotivated and pissed all the time. Anger wasnt helping much though. One particular occasion, i was unfairly reprimanded really bad and i wanted to quit. I remember going to the bathroom and crying cuz i felt so bad. Even my friends suggested i quit if i am so unhappy. Eventually though, i decided that i wasnt going to let this opportunity go to waste but if ever, i was unfairly reprimanded, i would leave without a care in the damn world. I decided that in the end, all i cared was doing the work well for my sake – i guess i kind of became internally driven then – i stopped bothering about any negativity and just focused on improving – all that mattered to me was doing the work to the best of my abilities. I also started ensuring that i never carried the work home and relaxed a lot too. Ironically, this change in attitude reflected in my work. Of course i was still messing up at times but i was able to slowly build trust in the team. They understood that i cared about getting the work right rather than being right. Eventually, i acquired a lot of learning and responsibility.
By the time i left, i got good reviews and though it was a really stressful experience where i felt manipulated and lied to at times, i learned how to compose myself and make the best of things. I am confident now that i have it in me to deal with unpleasant managers and teams. So in this instance, anger wasn’t helping much but rather it was my response that mattered.
Hope the others have much to add – i do have rather limited life experience 🙂
MoonOctober 1, 2015 at 2:56 am #84498
You handled that harassment really well, better than I ever could.
It’s that kneejerk reactionary anger that we have to be careful of.
Someone insults us and our negative self-talk goes into meltdown.
If we can just be a curious observer when this happens, but no if you’re like me, I “don’t say anything, just stew”
Instead if I could just treat myself as a third person “Jack feels insulted. He called Jack a loser but Jack knows he’s not a loser because only people who use that word as an insult are losers. Anyway, loser is a word no longer in his vocab.”October 1, 2015 at 8:14 am #84509
when it is turned into humour
John Cleese did that a lot in comedy sketches such as in Fawlty Towers.October 1, 2015 at 8:36 am #84514ChrisParticipant
I think anger is useful to initiate change. It can lead us to take appropriate action during times of fear or overwhelm. It gives a sense of certainty. The problem is that the raw emotion of anger can override rational thought if left unchecked. I recently learned that a child I knew was in a situation of abuse. That pissed me off so bad. No child deserves abuse. I became angry, I took action and I did not back down until the situation was changed. I feel zero guilt.October 1, 2015 at 8:48 am #84516AnonymousGuest
Although it is true most of the time that “When your anger is Up, your IQ is Down”- that it is not a good time to take action, most of the time, when one is distressed with anger, rage- or fear- there is a very VALID message in the anger every single time we feel it. It is about figuring out what the message is.
In emergency situations, when harm is being done- it is time to act, like Chris did- I admire very much protecting that child any way possible at the very moment. In other situations, it is better to calm first so to figure out the message and the best course of action.
Anger is an Action Motivator and it requires some action, some change in the way things are.
Turning the other cheek concept when angry is nice advice for saints (but do saints need advice?) but disastrous to humans. Anger means we are motivated to fight- fight for us, for something we value.
Feeling angry when offended by another means we value ourselves, otherwise we wouldn’t be feeling angry. There is a message. So instead of condemning anger as an indication we are bad people for feeling it, seeing the message is a totally different ball game. We are not bad for feeling angry, we are valuable in our OWN minds. What a powerful message if seen, isn’t it?
anitaOctober 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm #84539
turning the other cheek– I read somewhere that this is not a literal meaning. It means we don’t react negatively or seek revenge. Gandhi agreed with this concept in promoting non-violent protests.October 2, 2015 at 9:51 am #84568AnonymousGuest
The bible… whenever one points out an absurdity there (and there are so very many) someones comes back with the standard answer: don’t take it literally: it doesn’t really means this, it means that. This is convenient or expedient type thinking. What is convenient to take literally is taken literally, not convenient? let’s re-do it so it is sensible and therefore convenient.
anitaOctober 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm #84583
Alright , don’t take me literally then 🙂October 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm #84588AnonymousGuest
Pious Pete, is that you again? Or is it Llama Jack pretending to be Pious Pete? I think the latter. Pious Pete never means to be funny, I think.
anitaOctober 3, 2015 at 2:57 am #84600
sorryOctober 3, 2015 at 4:18 am #84605MikeParticipant
There are different levels of anger, there is anger that produces the action to get things done and there is also the anger where you lose control, can’t think and you are “foaming at the mouth.” From my studying, anger is not useful it is toxic to our bodies. A lot of people tend to be very attached to their emotions, anger being one of them, thus letting emotions take them over. So when they are angry they are almost high in rage, a lot of people enjoy being angry because it is a powerful drive. The problem with anger is that it damages the body as epinephrine and cortizol are released. Anger is not far off from fear and the flight or fight system as it uses the same system, but where fear is associated with safety, anger usually revolves around the ego and a perceived loss, such as a loss of dignity, someone doing a wrong to us, someone trying to take something from us and so on… The list of what can cause anger when we many attachments and are attached to anger is endless because it is an emotion of the ego, and thus shows ego clinging as many gurus put it.
Now with all of that said when a person has great control over their body and mind they can still act “angry.” That is to say you should never lose your bark, just don’t be attached to it and stop trying to bite people. To me it is recognizing anger arising in a situation and being present to what is occurring. Obviously you can’t always be nice and let people walk all over you, you have to ACT angry, like I said don’t lose your bark, but don’t act on anger, don’t focus on it and don’t become attached to it. It is difficult because a lot of things we do that are beneficial to ourselves and others such as being an advocate, are bolstered by anger it can be unstoppable force. But it also causes people to do and say idiotic things in the name of those causes. So I think in those cases it is useful to recognize the feeling of being angry, then coming up with a plan a script so to speak of what you are going to do and what you are going to say all the way down to the tones of your voice and the body language you will use, without losing control because when you lose control is when it is game over, no one gives a person a temper tantrum what they want or need, then once you feel like you are settled into a calmer state of mind then act on your plan. If you have ever watched a good actor you will see them act angry, but are they really angry? They are acting angry, yet not attached to the anger sometimes in life we have to be like good actors.
Hope my thoughts on anger are useful,
MikeOctober 3, 2015 at 5:03 pm #84637
I liken your suggestion to my teaching days.
I never mastered it myself, but colleagues said “act angry and grumpy with students in the first 2 months,after that you can relax”.
So what you mean is, use fake anger, pretend you are angry in minor issues before they become full-blown problems and you have to use real anger?(then it is too late and you are out of control)
Shame we have to do this but I take your point and it is a very good one.
I need to practice my temper tantrum, (spit the dummy) performance in the mirror. 🙂October 3, 2015 at 11:43 pm #84660AnonymousInactive
I rarely ever get angry. If someone wrongs me I’ve learned to look and see if they’re right and if they’re not i’ll talk to them about it calmly.
The work scenario described does build a pressure in me, yes. Can’t deny that. But I try a d pack it away and get on with the job in hand.
I go mad when I walk into a spiders Web though.
I’m storing up my anger in case I’m in trouble a d I need to unleash my weapon of choice: 38 years of inner rage. Woe betide any kidnappers